Senate Democrats seeking to derail Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination established a new standard two years ago: Henceforth, even completely uncorroborated allegations of sexual misconduct must be believed and should be enough to destroy a man’s career. Now, they are adding a caveat: but only if he is a Republican.

Christine Blasey Ford failed to provide a single witness who could back her claims that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high school party. She could not remember the date the party took place, whose house she was in, how she got there or how she got home — and a key witness, Leland Keyser, said she had no recollection of the party, much less the alleged incident. But Ford’s unsubstantiated allegations were enough for Senate Democrats to smear Kavanaugh as an attempted rapist in an effort to keep him off the high court.

Who was cheering them on the whole time? Joe Biden. The former vice president insisted that Ford “should be given the benefit of the doubt” and declared that “for a woman to come forward in the glaring lights of focus, nationally, you’ve got to start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real, whether or not she forgets facts.” He called, through a spokesperson, for “thorough and nonpartisan effort to get to the truth, wherever it leads.” He hailed her testimony as “courageous, credible and powerful.” He even explained away her lack of corroborating witnesses, declaring “if, God forbid, you walked out and somebody patted you in the rear end, your boss, or said something to you, how many of you would go report it?”

Now Biden needs to answer a simple question: Does that also apply to Tara Reade?

Reade has accused Biden of sexually assaulting her when she worked in his Senate office in 1993. Unlike Ford, Reade has multiple corroborating witnesses to back her claims. Her next-door neighbor Lynda LaCasse (a “very strong Democrat” who plans to vote for Biden) says Reade told her about Biden’s alleged assault in detail in 1995 or 1996. A colleague who worked with Reade as a staffer in the California State Senate from 1994 to 1996, Lorraine Sanchez, says Reade told her at the time that she had been sexually harassed by her former boss in Washington. Reade’s brother confirms she told him about the incident at the time. And a woman Reade says was her mother called in to “Larry King Live” in August 1993 — the month Reade left Biden’s office — asking for advice for a daughter who had just left Washington “after working for a prominent senator, and could not get through with her problems at all, and the only thing she could have done was go to the press, and she chose not to do it out of respect for him.”

If there had been any similar contemporaneous corroboration of Ford’s charges, Kavanaugh would not be sitting on the Supreme Court today.

Biden needs to explain: Why shouldn’t Reade be given the “benefit of the doubt”? Why shouldn’t we “start off with the presumption that at least the essence of what she’s talking about is real”? Why shouldn’t there be a thorough and nonpartisan investigation to “get to the truth, wherever it leads”? And will he cooperate with such an investigation?

Reade claims to have filed a written complaint with the Senate in 1993. Biden has refused to release his Senate papers, which are held at the University of Delaware, and according to the university will not be publicly available until two years after he retires from public life.

Biden is not alone in his hypocrisy. Not one Democratic senator who backed Ford in 2018 has said a word in support for Reade. Apparently, Democrats’ mantra is: Believe the women … but only if their accusations help our pursuit of political power. This is actually not a new mantra, but a return to the old one of the 1990s, when Democrats covered up for President Bill Clinton’s sexual misconduct so they could hold onto power. They became #MeToo warriors in 2018 to stop Kavanaugh from shifting the balance of power on the Supreme Court. Now, they are back to covering up for Biden because he is their only path back to power in the White House. The will to power is all that matters; women are to be believed or discarded based on whether they advance or hinder its pursuit.

Should Joe Biden be presumed innocent? Sorry, Democrats — including Biden — denied Kavanaugh the presumption of innocence and insisted that the burden was on him to prove he was not a sexual predator. Now Biden should have to live by the standard he helped set.

Read more: